UK

Prince Philip says engineers are key to global population solutions

Duke of Edinburgh Image copyright AP
Image caption Prince Philip said engineers had helped during the post-war recovery and would help in the future

It will be up to engineers to find solutions to the problems posed by the world's growing human population, the Duke of Edinburgh has told the BBC.

The duke told Radio 4's Today programme that "everything that wasn't invented by God was invented by an engineer".

He was discussing the merits of British engineering with Today's guest editor, former BP chief executive Lord Browne.

Prince Philip said engineering had contributed to the post-war recovery and would help solve future problems.

'Completely skint'

In the interview, the duke said his interest in the subject began when he was a naval officer "surrounded by engineering" on warships.

After World War Two, he said, "we were completely skint, seriously badly damaged and the only way we were going to recover a sort of viability was through engineering".

In 1976 Prince Philip initiated the Fellowship of Engineering, now the Royal Academy of Engineering, which promotes excellence and education in the field.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Prince Philip, seen here in 1949, said his interest in engineering began during his career as a naval officer

Asked about the future, the duke said: "The human population of the world is growing and is occupying more space, and it has got to be accommodated somehow or other.

"What I think most people would like to see is that it accommodates a certain amount of the natural world as well as the human world and everything that we require to keep it going.

"But somehow or other that balance to try and fit as many people on to this globe as comfortably as possible without them doing too much damage - I think ultimately it's going to be engineers who are going to decide that."

'Jealousy and anxiety'

He also said it was "curious" that there was no Nobel Prize for engineering.

He suggested it may be because of a historical divide between scientists and engineers.

There was "a certain amount of jealousy and a certain amount of anxiety" as to who was "better", he said.

Lord Browne, who is chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, said he wanted the £1m award to be seen as a Nobel-style prize for engineering.

More on this story